The Ontario government is proposing that Jill Hutcheon,
interim chair of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board
(WSIB), take over as president of the agency on a permanent
BY GRANT CAMERON
The Ontario government is proposing that Jill Hutcheon, interim chair of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), take over as president of the agency on a permanent basis.
The Liberals have also nominated four other individuals for the WSIB board of directors, increasing the membership to seven from three.
All the nominations are subject to review by the Standing Committee on Government Agencies.
Labour Minister Chris Bentley, the minister responsible for the WSIB, said last week that the appointments would help the agency move forward.
“These appointments will further revitalize the WSIB so it better meets the needs of injured workers, employers and the people of Ontario.
“A recent independent audit of the WSIB raised concerns related to governance, accountability and controllership at this critically important organization. (This) announcement will assist the resolution of these issues.”
Hutcheon is a former deputy minister of Labour. A new chair will be proposed soon.
“The renewal of the WSIB begun during Ms. Hutcheon’s time as interim chair will continue,” said Bentley. “Her demonstrated leadership skills will ensure that injured workers are treated with dignity, fairness and respect.
“Moreover, she can make certain the WSIB achieves its prevention goals and delivers its programs cost effectively and efficiently.”
The four individuals nominated for the WSIB board of directors are: Jim O’Neil, national secretary treasurer of the CAW-Canada; Loretta Henderson, former vice-chair of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal; Marlene McGrath, executive director, corporate services, general counsel at 3M Canada Co.; and Mark Smith, chairman of Kensington Capital Corp.
If approved, they will join current board members Chris Griffin, Dorothy Pringle and Patrick Dillon, business manager of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario.
A number of changes have been made at the WSIB in the past year.
In February, Bentley ordered an independent audit to assess various aspects of the WSIB and make appropriate recommendations for improvements.
Former chair and president Glen Wright resigned abruptly in March and in June the independent audit raised some worrisome issues about governance, controllership and accountability practices at the WSIB and identified areas for improvement.
As a result of the audit, the government promised to revamp the WSIB’s governance structure to achieve results, provide solid representation and deliver effective administration.
Government also said it would name a president, chair and additional members to the board of directors once it identified candidates who could best implement the audit recommendations and fill specific governance roles.
The WSIB has an administrative budget of nearly $700 million and more than $11 billion in assets managed on behalf of Ontario’s workers and employers. The arm’slength government agency oversees Ontario’s workplace safety, education and training system, provides disability benefits through a no-fault employer protection plan, and facilitates the early and safe return to work of injured employees.